My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 10

18 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 – Thursday August 1

I woke to another beautiful Minnesota day for visiting museums.  After a really great complimentary breakfast at the motel, I headed southeast, thru about 10 miles of  I-694 and East River Road morning traffic, to visit the Firefighter’s Hall of Fame & Museum, located just north of downtown Minneapolis.  This small museum houses historic fire trucks, firefighting equipment and memorabilia related to Minneapolis Fire Departments dating from the 1860s.  The museum also has interactive displays for children of all ages.

Now I headed about 10 miles southwest on I-394 to visit the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting located in the St. Louis Park area.  This museum displays a large collection of antique and vintage radio, TV, and broadcasting equipment dating from the 1920s.  I found it very interesting that the museum has one of the first German AEG Magnetophon tape recorders (unknown technology in the US at the time).  This recorder was brought to the U.S. after WWII and first used, by John T. Mullin, to record the Bing Crosby Shows in 1947.  It was also used to record many of Crosby’s famous songs of the time.  The evolution of this technology, over the years, has led to many of the high-tech radio, TV, movie and high-quality recording systems we enjoy today. 

Next I drove just a couple of miles east to visit the Minnehaha Railway Depot (part of the original “Milwaukee Road”) located on the shore of Lake Harriet, in the Minnehaha Regional Park and Wabun Picnic area.  Built in 1875, the depot served Minneapolis commuters and visitors to the park until 1963, when it was turned into a restored historic site.  I was intrigued with the Indian names associated with the area.  It is said, in the 1855 poem, The Song of Hiawatha (excerpt) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, that Minnehaha (laughing waters) was the wife of Hiawatha (1525-1595).  Hiawatha was a fictional Ojibwa warrior in the adventures of Longfellow’s poem.  Check out the history of this famous poem when you have the time.


Now I headed west about 15 miles on I-394 to visit the Wayzata Depot Museum located on the shore of Lake Wayzata, in the small town of Wayzata, MN.  This depot was built by the Great Northern Railroad in 1906, to replace the original 1867 depot, and serviced the community of Wayzata until 1971.  The museum has a large display of vintage train memorabilia, including rare photos of the depot and the city of Wayzata from the late 1800s.  There is also a permanent miniature Minnesota Garden Railroad layout on the east side of the depot that is operated by the Wayzata Historical Society, on the weekends, to the delight of children and adults alike. 

Greta (my Garmin) took me a few miles east now, to visit the Bakken Museum located adjacent to the Lake Calhoun in the St. Louis Park area.  The museum is Minnesota’s only Smithsonian-Affiliate, and is the only library/museum in the world that is devoted to medical electricity.  The museum educates visitors about the history of electricity and electromagnetism, as it relates to medicine, from as far back as 1200 AD to the present.  The museum is filled with artifacts and memorabilia that tell the evolving story of medical electricity over the centuries.

My plan was to drive a few miles northeast to visit the Minnesota Newspaper Museum, located in the Falcon Heights area, but Greta couldn’t find the address.  I was disappointed not to get to visit this museum, as I have not come across that many newspaper museums, during my trips, and I am interested in the early evolution of the printing press and newspapers in general.  Their website informed me that they have volunteers, who can print souvenir copies of the “Maynard News,” using vintage linotype equipment.  I would love to have been able to witness that operation.  As a boy I was actually allowed to operate an old linotype machine (supervised) that was in the basement of my father’s office building.  It was being used, at the time, to print newsletters and other articles.

By now it was time for Greta to take me back to Brooklyn Center where I stopped in at a Chick-fil-A for some of their Chicken Fingers and a bowl of their famous Chicken Soup.  This was the easiest thing I could think of, to help sooth my upset stomach.  That seemed to work, and I headed for the motel to record today’s events and see if there might be something on the TV.  Of course there wasn’t.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 10”

  1. divoran09 December 18, 2019 at 11:33 am #

    lovely post, dear


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